Morley Chaplick

An interesting Globe and Mail interview with Morley Chaplick, the president of Canadian Scooter Corp. (Canadia’s Vespa importer). I like his honesty here:

You know, I wouldn’t even think of buying [a Piaggio MP3]; quite frankly, I like two wheels. But it is selling like hotcakes. That is a reality. So maybe it’s a question that didn’t need to be answered, but people are actually saying yes.

The importing/corporate structure seems somewhat different between PiaggioUSA, which appears to be more or less run by Piaggio HQ, and Canadian Scooter Corp., which seems more independent. I always get the impression that PiaggioUSA is mostly 9-to-5ers with leadership waiting to go back to Italy (or Harley) when their ‘tour of duty’ was over, whereas Chaplick apparently has a very large personal stake in the long-term success of Canadian Scooter Corp.

(I’d love to hear some better-informed opinions on that topic)

2 thoughts on “Morley Chaplick”

  1. Canadian Scooter Corp is a much different ball of wax that Piaggio Group USA. In some ways it is better, in others, not so much.

    CSC is privately held, owned in majority if not entirely by Chaplick. PGUSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Piaggio.

    As for PGUSA, the position traditionally held by an Italian (CEO usually) is a mere lilly pad on the Piaggio corporate ladder. The biggest goal of a PGUSA CEO is not to screw up. As such they are reluctant to take risks, be bold, or look at the business from anything other than a top line revenue/vehicle #’s sold perspective.

    CSC on the other hand is owned by Morey, he understands the need to connect with the market, as well recognize the opportunities that a new market has to offer. With larger distances between large cities than in the USA, and a population a small fraction of the USA, CSC has a tougher challenge.

    Morey used to own at least part of Motoretta in Toronto, and now has an interest in one of the shops, cannot remember which. His branding is strong, as are his ideas. The “rabbits fucking with their eyes blacked out” logo introduced a couple years ago was genius, PGUSA would never do that. Someone in Italy might see and the USA CEO would get in trouble. Morey has the advantage that he is a customer of Piaggio and not the bitch of some guy next up the management ladder.

    He has a strong personality, and depending on who you talk to, they either love him or hate him, which is not unusual for a successful hardworking businessman.

    Their branding is one more reason I love living in Canada. PDUSA branding is bo to the ring.

    As for the MP3, the Italians hate it, the French love it (they are everywhere in Gay Paris), and the Germans are still pissed they did not come up with the design themselves. At night in the city in pouring rain, near freezing with a lot of train tracks in the road, the MP3 is hard to beat. On twisty roads however it is a PIG.
    A great tool, nothing more.

  2. From the article: “He’s plunked down a sizable hunk of the cash he made in the video game business to build Canada’s distributor of Italian-built Vespa scooters.

    He has a lot of his own skin in the game. Of course he’s going to want it to be successful. He mentions a radio ad. I’ve never heard a radio ad for Vespa/Piaggio scooters. Ever. TV commercials? Pffft. There was one running in Seattle that was made and paid for by the four dealers in western Washington, which used some really low-res analog stock video (and looked like it was made on someone’s Mac with iMovie).

    I would love to see Roger Penske become the U.S. distributor for Vespa. Vespas would nicely compliment Smarts (especially on the price point), and Penske Automotive would be able to provide the level of customer service and support people take for granted when buying, say, a new car. On Penske’s watch, Vespa/Piaggio would sell a million scooters a year. Or at least a few hundred thousand.

    But that’s about as likely to happen as me winning the Powerball jackpot this weekend…

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